There was a saying on New Year’s Eve that my parents always repeated to each other and one had to be the first to say it: “New Year’s Eve gift.” I really can’t recall why, but I think it was for good luck. Also, when I was young our church always had “Watch Night Services” on New Year’s Eve. We had planned activities, which included games and singing until midnight and we capped the event off with choruses of “Happy New Year!”
As young married adults with children, our kinfolk encompassed quite a range of cousins, aunts and uncles and many children when we gathered together to celebrate New Year’s Day. The families represented through the years included Wells, Vaughan, Butterworth, Bachus, Hays, Watkins, Jacobs, Lundy, Spangler and others.
Mitzi Wells always prepared the lunch on New Year’s Day at her home in Hoover. There were no invitations issued for lunch. All the kinfolk and friends and neighbors just knew to show up at Mitzi’s on New Year’s Day around one o’clock for some of her good Southern cuisine. What a feast she would have!
She prepared two meats--a fresh cooked ham and a cured ham. Also served were macaroni and cheese, potato salad and a sweet potato dish. The vegetables included turnip greens and black-eyed peas. A dime was always put in the black-eyed peas for good luck. We were always welcome to bring any special food items. The bread portion was rolls and cornbread. The condiments consisted of jars of chow chow, fresh little green onions, pickles, and pepper sauce.